As I’m slogging my way through the absolute TOME that is Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crisis Changed the World (which is fascinating), I needed something a little lighter to break up the finance/business talk.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this. Suede is a great romance writer, but sometimes it’s a little crass for me. This one definitely rode that line and sometimes went over, but not enough so for me to abandon the book (as if I’d ever do that). Ultimately, Suede pulled me in though I mean a neurotic comic book illustrator (Trip) and a southern comic/pop culture nerd (Silas) getting together in the big city (NYC), hello custom-made dream for me 😀
I won’t go into the crassness, it’s just not worth it. (And I’m pretty sure it’s more me being a prude than anything else.) Some people must love it, Suede is a best-selling author after all, but for me it just comes off as either trying to hard or as an escape for writing something more delicate. A lot of it is word choice and reclaiming words that I’m just like meh pass, but some of it comes across a little (hetero)sexist and a little misogynist even when he’s flipping some stereotypes on their heads. I will however highlight Suede’s humor. There were multiple times I had to re-read a line to see whether I should laugh, be bemused, or be offended! That definitely takes some talent as a writer to cause that sort of rapid emotional turmoil/flip-flopping.
“Hell, if Trip’s life was a rom-com, all these innuendos and misunderstandings would end in a big dance-off and a gay wedding in Fag Harbor.” (Loc. 544)
“At the same time, if they were going to date like grown-ups, dressing up as He-Man and then getting finger-fucked on his stoop might not have been the classiest option.” (Loc. 1669)
“Of course their fictional. Everyone is fictional! We all invent ourselves, shitwit. That’s what being alive is. Dad’s big pen squirts us into Mom’s open pages, and then we have to fill in the blanks, make our lives up, color things in so we’re worth reading.” (Loc. 6433)
I very much enjoyed the development of the relationship between Trip and Silas. Enough of it felt real to get me invested and it happened at a slow enough pace that It didn’t feel like a wham-bam-thank-you-man hook up turned into an okay we’re getting married three weeks later type book. The minor characters were all a little flimsy, but they don’t have to be super fleshed out for a book like this, but it would’ve been nice – especially if he’s setting up a series (see final paragraph). Add in that he made a Jane Austen reference and SWOON:
“Bitch, any man who discusses superhero sociology and talks you off a ledge on a sex date has intentions. Like Jane Austen intentions.” (Loc. 1997)
Can you really ask for more than that? I mean if they wanted to discuss Jane Austen with you (or let you yammer on about books for WAY too long on your first date) that’d definitely put you firmly in the yes column for me (ask Tim :-D).
Surprisingly, where I felt Suede did a good job was on Trip’s godson. The conversations felt right for the age and for the subject matter. So many kids these days are so nonchalant about LGBT people and relationships it’s just matter of fact: “Why not call him?”, “Why not kiss him?”, “Why can’t the two ladies get married?”, etc.
I also felt the godson added a bit of a foil for Trip’s neuroses and imaginary scripting of the world around him. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I have definitely been guilty of doing that and it’s hard to stop that habit. Even now having frank discussions is a challenge because I’ve already had them in my head and more often than not am like why bother?
I am a little concerned that Goodreads casts this as Itch #1 (aka first book in a series) and yet it was published in 2013 and there is nothing about the second book ANYWHERE. If I had to guess the second book would be about the relationship between one of Silas’ friends and an unrequited love/crush/burning passion with one of his employees. There does appear to be a version of the comic created in this book, but I’ve little-to-no interest in reading it.
Recommendation: Overall, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I don’t think it has as much impact (erotically or emotionally) as Hot Head, but it’s a decent quick read. If he publishes another in the series, I’ll probably check it out next time I want a quick read.
Opening Line: “The zombies weren’t scheduled to attack until three o’clock.”
Closing Line: “‘Fuck that.’ Trip winked. ‘I feel like flying.'” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)
Additional Quotes from Bad Idea
“This is why Silas avoided bars and A-gay fundraisers now. Every ocean becomes a puddle. If you stayed underwater long enough, you eventually swam into monsters you’d rather forget.” (Loc. 403)
“Up north, a Southern accent could be a powerful weapon. Yankees assumed you were dumber, but at the right moments, it sounded nostalgic and seductive.” (Loc. 812)
“‘Y’know when you leave a party and you’re standing on the landing before you finally think of all the stuff you should have said on the spot? The French call it “wisdom of the staircase.” ‘S’like my worst habit.’ Trip sighed. ‘That’s what writers do. They can write conversations the way they oughtta happen.'”(Loc. 822)
“Having a kid is like having your heart walking around outside your body for the rest of your life.” (Loc. 1943)
“Silas muttered, ”S’bullshit. The best villain is the thing that proves your hero wrong. Whatever murders hope. Y’know?’ He bit his tongue like a little boy. His strokes carved the page into segments: dark and bright. ‘Monsters don’t wreck the world by smashing it. They corrode everything around just by existing. Right? Like acid.'” (Loc. 3626)
“Worrying is praying for something you don’t want.” (Loc. 4132)
“You just find something you would die for and live for it instead. Okay?” (Loc. 6007)
“You can’t lose what you never had, you can’t keep what’s not yours, and you can’t hold on to something that doesn’t want to stay.” (Loc. 6107)
“Maybe that’s what being a couple meant: not that you were brave for each other, but that you could let someone be scared or damaged without judging them. Sharing monsters. Knowing theirs, giving them yours.” (Loc. 6258)